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Iran council approves nuclear plan


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Straw, left, and Rohani spoke to media in Geneva on Wednesday May 25 after talks between Iran and the EU.
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's Guardian Council has put its stamp of approval on a measure passed by parliament earlier this month requiring the government to develop nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.

The council's decision on Saturday was reported by the state-run TV and radio service, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

A spokesman for the council -- which must check all bills before they are made into law -- told reporters that the body had evaluated the measure and found it not to be unconstitutional.

The measure says the government is charged with the duty of acquiring technology for peaceful purposes under the framework of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and international law.

Iran's nuclear program has created concern and fears across the globe and European countries have been meeting with Iran about the program.

Western countries and agencies fear Iran is intent on developing weaponry in a domestic nuclear program that Iran insists is for peaceful purposes.

Earlier this week, Iran and European Union officials from Britain, France and Germany met after Iran threatened to restart its frozen uranium enrichment program and the EU said it would take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

The upshot was that they agreed to keep trying for an agreement.

"What we discussed today, in the first ministerial meeting we've had for six months with the Iranians, was a set of proposals ... which had been discussed earlier by our officials with the Iranians," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told CNN after the meeting.

"They're on the table, and we said we would put these in much more detail by the end of July, beginning of August. And they would be within the context of the Paris agreement, and also in the context of the Paris agreement remaining in force.

"And what the Paris agreement says is that all uranium enrichment conversion activities are suspended until there is a long-term agreement in force."

Neither Straw nor Iran's chief negotiator, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani, offered particulars of the proposals.

"The essence of our position was that the negotiations should not be procrastinated," Rohani told CNN. "We were persistent in asking our European interlocutors that all of their proposals should be put in one place and put forward."

Rohani said that "from the standpoint that the duration is now finite," Wednesday's meeting could be considered progress.

The Iranian negotiator told CNN that he said during the meeting that Iran does not plan to develop nuclear weapons, but sees the successful implementation of nuclear energy as a path to preserve Iran's security.

Rohani defended Iran from complaints that it had withheld information about its nuclear programs from the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying the activities the country withheld from the agency were well within its rights.

The only violation of international law, he said were "our failures to report, nothing more." The agency has found no evidence of enrichment or diversion of materials for weaponry, he said.

-- Reporter Shirzad Bozorgmehr in Tehran contributed to this report


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